Phew! That went better than expected. I felt some awkwardness and confusion, sure, but also a lot of happiness afterwards. I’m glad I went!
Thankfully today we did a lot of going back to basics: different masters of the dagger, first drill, second drill, breaking of the thrust, exchanging of the thrust. I struggled with some of them, some I remembered, though I did none perfectly. By the end of the class I could barely think, much less lift a sword. But it was worth it.
The most interesting exercise to share is one we did in the first half of the lesson, which we spent training with daggers. After having gone through the four basic attacks and defences of the dagger, we were split into groups of three and told to practice. The goal was to have a continuous rotation of random attacks and appropriate defences; you were not supposed to stay stationary for one moment.
Needless to say, it was a chaotic experience! Lots of attacking the wrong person and messing up the defence. Though usually I’m pretty terrified of such exercises (uncertainty is not fun), this one was quite enjoyable as well as useful. Once you remove the rigid frame (or “scaffolding”, as our teacher called it) of the carefully set starting positions and instead put the fighters in a changing, more complex situation, you can see how much they really know. In my case, as it turns out, it’s not too much, but not nothing either. While a determined fighter would beat me every time, I was happy to see that it wasn’t that difficult for me to react appropriately to the different attacks. My defences weren’t worthless either. Recognizing an attack quickly and defending myself without conscious thought is still something I need to practice, but it’s nice to see that I haven’t forgotten everything.
The fact that I went to training with my father made things considerably less stressful. The presence of a friend helped me to laugh at myself more and relax a bit. I do hope that in the future I’ll be more comfortable going to training again. The only way to achieve that is to train more. I can’t promise that I’ll go or update every week, but I’d like to try.